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Emanuel cuts 24 positions
Sutter Gould expands operations in Turlock
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For 24 Emanuel Medical Center employees, the start of the holiday season was bleak this year as the hospital eliminated 17 full-time and seven part-time positions on Thursday.

"Low census, decreasing reimbursements and increasing rates of uncompensated care are presenting challenges to most healthcare providers.  Regrettably, our hospital is not exempt from these issues, despite efforts to control costs, improve productivity and expand services," said hospital spokesperson Pennie Rorex in a released statement.

The hospital did not specify what departments from which the 24 positions were cut.

In an effort to assist those employees laid off by the cuts, Emanuel is providing eligible employees with a severance package and the opportunity to extend their group health benefits through the end of the year.

The layoffs come just weeks after Emanuel announced it was in negotiations with Tenet Healthcare for a possible partnership.

Over the past three years, Emanuel Medical Center has been looking for a way to remain financially stable amid costly healthcare reform act mandates and dwindling revenues. Tenet — an investor-owned hospital operator, which runs 49 hospitals nationwide including Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and Doctors Hospital in Manteca — might be the answer to Emanuel's problems.

The discussions between Emanuel and Tenet include the hospital and all healthcare services it currently offers. The only Emanuel assets excluded from the negotiations are the long-term care facility Brandel Manor, and assisted living facility Cypress of Emanuel. Those two facilities will remain under management of the Evangelical Covenant Church, of which Emanuel Medical Center is a ministry.

Emanuel and Tenet are still in the due diligence process and no final agreements have been reached.

"While these are challenging times, our number one priority is unchanged; we will continue to deliver quality patient care," the hospital said in its statement.

 As Emanuel eliminated positions this week, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation announced plans to build a new patient care center in Turlock.

The new building will be located at the intersection of North Golden State Boulevard and West Christoffersen Parkway.  The 37,000-square-foot care center, set to open in early 2014, will eventually accommodate 25-30 physicians. The facility will offer specialty, pediatric, internal medicine and primary care as well as laboratory and radiology services. Daily and after-hour urgent care services will also be provided.

“I’m pleased that we are able to construct a new care center for the residents of Turlock and the surrounding communities. Providing outpatient and physician services close to home helps foster healthy communities.” said Paul DeChant, CEO of Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. “This facility will allow us to treat today’s community as well as accommodate future growth.”

The Sutter Turlock Care Center, currently located at 1015 East Main St., will be replaced by the new facility.